Paul continues that our faith that Jesus rose from the dead in bodily form is a necessary part of our belief. In fact, he states, “…if Christ was not raised, your faith is worthless” (v17). Paul spends eight verses on this very point. Jesus really did rise from the dead. The death of Jesus reveals His love for us and His resurrection reveals that this love can save us.
He does what we do, “Death came through a man,” so that we could do what He does, “hence the resurrection came through a man also” (v21). In raising the body of Jesus, God raises His humanity up. He has grafted us onto His divinity. Wherever he is, we can be also. We have become one flesh with God. So when the humanity of Jesus is raised from the dead, we will also be raised. He does what we do (suffer and die) so that we can do what he does (rise to life in the fullest).
This is the promise of the Gospel message. It is the foundational teaching to our faith. The very reason for our faith is the promise that Jesus made to His followers that we can be with Him and experience His love and compassion for all eternity, where there is nothing but peace and joy in His presence. The resurrection is an expression of His power to save. The very fact that He did raise His humanity is an expression that He does in fact raise us up. It is our hope that we will be participating in His resurrection when it comes to the end of our life here on earth. “Just as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will come to life again” (22). Actually, the plan is that death itself will be done away with. “…and the last enemy to be destroyed is death” (26). What is going on now in heaven will be established here on earth. God’s Kingdom will be firmly established as He, God, will be ruling over all. Since Jesus died on the cross for us, the heavenly Father has given all authority to Him, but since God is one and of one accord, they all share in the goodness of having done this redeeming work for humanity (28). Everything is made whole, because God is one. We do what He does.
We look forward to be made whole. We look forward to be healed of all division, from within and without. It is a healing that takes place so that we would be made one in Him. But only in Him can we be made whole for “without Him, nothing came to be” (John 1:3). He came that we may be made anew. The very glory of God will be made manifest in all those who are saved.
So our hope is not for some merely natural gift like a nice house. It not for an extravagant house with the super expensive hypercar. Our hope is in something greater. Our hope is not just in eternal life. Our hope is in the kind of eternal life that is life in the fullest where joy and peace reigns. This is something worth dying for. That is why Paul is willing to suffer so much and see to our salvation. That is our motivation to keep away from “bad company” (33).
Keeping away from bad company can bring about some suffering while we are here in a sinful world. Choosing Christ in everything can not only be exhausting and seem like an endless succession of saying “no” to what seems to be fun and getting rejected by peers; today, it can mean receiving actual physical violence. Your house or car could get burned or you could get beaten to death. A very real personal decision is something we are all faced with. Will we go with the flow to avoid suffering, but to our own peril for eternity? Or are we willing to hope in the promise of the resurrection that Jesus offers us? For those who know Jesus and are not ignorant of God (34), the decision is made quickly.